Rally Cry, an Irvine-based company that aims to make esports leagues accessible to gamers of all skill levels, announced last Tuesday its program Air Force Gaming launched a second-season expansion made possible by a sponsorship deal with the United Services Automobile Association.
Rally Cry developed Air Force Gaming, the official esports hub for the Department of the Air Force and U.S. Space Force, last November.
During its pilot season, 15,000 airmen and guardians stationed around the world participated in community tournaments and competed in the official Department of the Air Force Gaming League.
The company says its second season includes retired veterans, injured combat veterans, youth and dependents. Its user count has climbed to 17,500 as of earlier this month.
Rally Cry estimates about 86% of airmen between the ages of 18 to 34 identify as gamers.
The founder of Air Force Gaming, Capt. Oliver Parsons, last September commissioned Rally Cry to create an outlet that would connect airmen and space professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic while fostering community, mental health and digital literacy, said Adam Rosen, founder and CEO of Rally Cry.
“When I think about mental health, I think of veterans and retirees, and I see there’s a great opportunity to do well,” Rosen told the Business Journal. “Rally Cry targets the everyday player: people of all ages and skill levels, not just active-duty participants.”
Rally Cry was started by Blizzard Entertainment alumni last year. It launched its Company Clash program for users with active business emails last year.
Rally Cry is supported by among other investors, including Mike Morhaime, co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, and his wife, Amy; Kevin Lin, co-founder of Twitch; and Marc Merrill, co-founder of Riot Games. The company’s raised some $1.2 million in funding, per Crunchbase.
Earlier this year, Rally Cry joined a coalition of gaming companies called Gamers for CHOC, along with Amazon Game Studios and Riot Games, to raise funds for Children’s Hospital of Orange County. So far, the hospital has raised nearly $190,000 of their $200,000 goal.
The company also hosted the CHOC Champions League, a stand-alone gaming tournament for Orange County companies, which raised $18,000 for the children’s hospital, according to Rosen.
Rosen also co-founded Irvine’s Tespa in 2010, which became the world’s largest collegiate esports network before it was acquired by Blizzard Entertainment in 2013.